Bell & Howell Two Twenty

Who doesn’t like a good nob, amarite?

Ah the Bell & Howell Two Twenty. Why Two Twenty? Cause that’s the exact time when it’s ok to have a scotch if you were a working stiff in the 50’s. On the street this camera was called the “Wilshire” but you can’t get liquored up at Wilshire o’clock (well you can but you gotta be sauced to begin with)

Whats to say about this camera. Nothing. It’s got a hole you look through and a crank to make the film go clickity-clack. More technical information is available in the manual.

The main selling feature for this beauty is that it was a popular seller among the hoards of illiterate filmmakers due to its “pictogram exposure” technology. That’s right, you could look at the sun (directly, with your eye) and then look at the camera. The amount of blood that was coming out of your eyes was what you would set the camera to.


With innovation like this it’s no wonder where Steve Jobs and Apple got their ideas from. Unbeknownst to the technician, the descriptions under each setting have become common slang phrases for city youth. Example gratises:

“Yo, you bright son, stashing yo weed in your shoe tongue.”
“Yo, I’m feeling hazy son, after smoking that dank koosh.”
“Yo, you see Tommy give Julio that light shade last night? Boo be trippin.”
“Yo. My pee a bit too cloudy dull to go in for a job at Best Buy.”

I’m always amazed to see technology way ahead of its time.

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